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Verse 20. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world. This does not necessarily mean that they had been true Christians, and had fallen from grace. Men may outwardly reform, and escape from the open corruptions which prevail around them, or which they had themselves practised, and still have no true grace at heart.

Through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Neither does this imply that they were true Christians, or that they had ever had any saving knowledge of the Redeemer. There is a knowledge of the doctrines and duties of religion which may lead sinners to abandon their outward vices, which has no connexion with saving grace. They may profess religion, and may know enough of religion to understand that it requires them to abandon their vicious habits, and still never be true Christians.

They are again entangled therein and overcome. The word rendered entangled, (emplekw,) from which is derived our word implicate, means to braid in, to interweave; then to involve in, to entangle. It means here that they become implicated in those vices like an animal that is entangled in a net.

The latter end is worse with them than the beginning. This is usually the case. Apostates become worse than they were before their professed conversion. Reformed drunkards, if they go back to their "cups" again, become more abandoned than ever. Thus it is with those who have been addicted to any habits of vice, and who profess to become religious, and then fall away. The reasons of this may be,

(1.) that they are willing now to show to others that they are no longer under the restraints by which they had professedly bound themselves;

(2.) that God gives them up to indulgence with fewer restraints than formerly; and

(3.) their old companions in sin may be at special pains to court their society, and to lead them into temptation, in order to obtain a triumph over virtue and religion.

{b} "again entangled" Lu 11:26; Heb 6:4; 10:26

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